Comedy: A small town high school teacher must deal with the aftermath of his former student, turned Oscar winning actor, announcing that the teacher is gay.
Howard Brackett (KEVIN KLINE) is a small town high school teacher whose life seems perfect. He loves teaching, he's about to get married to Emily Montgomery (JOAN CUSACK), and a former student of his, Cameron Drake (MATT DILLON), has just won the Academy Award for best actor. Seconds later, however, Howard's life changes forever when Drake, in his acceptance speech, proclaims that his former teacher is gay. Howard immediately says he's not, but soon the town is abuzz with gossip about whether it's true. The school principal, Tom Halliwell (BOB NEWHART), needs reassurance that he's not, as do Howard's parents, Berniece (DEBBIE REYNOLDS) and Frank Brackett (WILFORD BRIMLEY), especially since Berniece has long dreamed and waited for Howard's wedding. The inevitable then occurs as the press arrives, and openly gay reporter Peter Malloy (TOM SELLECK) decides to do a week long story on Howard and uncover the true story. As his wedding day approaches, Howard must untangle his mixed feelings toward the announcement, his friends and family, and his own sexuality.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
The funny commercials will probably draw in many teens, especially if they're fans of someone in the cast.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For sexual content and some strong language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
KEVIN KLINE plays a school teacher accused of being gay who must then sort out his own sexual identity.
JOAN CUSACK plays the bride-to-be whose life hinges on whether Howard is gay or not.
TOM SELLECK plays an openly gay reporter who sticks around to uncover the truth about Howard's sexuality.
Funny, but probably not as hilarious as it ultimately could and should have been, "In & Out" is nonetheless a small comic delight that should entertain most audiences. Essentially a one-note concept -- Kline must deal with being labeled as gay -- the film manages to generate quite a few laughs from that subject without being overly demeaning to anyone's sexuality. Some stereotypical gay beliefs and comments are made, however, that may put off some audience members while others may not like the movie delving into that subject at all. The film, though, neatly balances the issue and ends with an uplifting "let's be tolerant" message that most everyone should appreciate and understand. The film certainly doesn't delve very deeply into the subject -- it's a comedy after all -- and instead treats it lightly and uses the subject matter as comic fodder. Of particular note is a scene where Kline listens to a "How to be Masculine" tape that's filled with "important" tips and reminders of how to prove ones manliness. When it taunts Kline not to react to the driving disco beat of a song it's playing, the film delivers sheer comic brilliancy, and Kline is perfectly suited for the physical demands of the scene. Most of the casting is perfect, from the prissy behavior of Kline, to the manic pre-wedding stress that Cusack exudes to the hilarious take Matt Dillon does on the likes of Hollwood stars such as Brad Pitt and Keanu Reeves. In fact, the movie really purrs along when the supporting characters have the stage and one only wishes that Debbie Reynolds (an absolute comic delight in last year's "Mother") had more time on screen to show off her worried mother character. Other hilarious moments include a spoof of the Oscars where we see several clips from Drake's nominated film, plus a list of the other nominated actors and the titles of their films that alone is quite hilarious (one at the expense of Steven Seagal). The film does take an unexpected turn about midway through, which is actually fortunate since it was beginning to lose steam and run out of material from that one-note concept. While it is often hilarious, there's the feeling that there could have been more -- that director Frank Oz and writer Paul Rudnick didn't fully explore and mine the best jokes and scenes for this type of story. This is just a minor complaint and really stems from us being greedy and wanting more funny stuff. Still, there's plenty here that should satisfy fans of the cast and of comedies in general. We enjoyed "In & Out" and give it an 8 out of 10.
OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
Obviously the film focuses on being gay and several of the main characters are gay, so if that sort of thing bothers you, now you know (but no activity is seen other than when Peter unexpectedly -- and comically -- kisses Howard). There is a little bit of sexual discussion relating to all of that, but nothing overly explicit. Profanity is very limited but does include one use each of the "f" word and slang terms for male and female genitals. Beyond that, some drinking and smoking, and the townspeople's occasionally bad reaction to the gay issue, there's very little to object to in this film. Still, you should read through the material in case you and/or your children wish to see this movie.
The townspeople treat Howard differently when they hear he's gay and even after he admits he's not.
Principal Halliwell threatens to fire Howard if he's gay.
Some viewers may not like a scene where Howard confesses to a priest about a "friend" accused of being gay who also hasn't yet consummated a three year relationship with a woman. The priest then says that this man must be gay, and to disprove it, he must consummate that relationship right away (before the wedding).
Once it's announced that Howard is gay, the film focuses on this subject and there are many discussions about him being gay (including one where another teacher says that Howard "likes d*ck"). We also see clips from Drake's movie where another soldier tells Drake's character that he loves him. Later, Peter plants a long kiss on Howard's lips after telling him that he's gay.
A student mentions that being gay is okay in two situations. One is in prison where "it's a substitute," and the other is in outer space where you might "float into each other while you're asleep." He then comments that it (being gay) is "against nature" because of people having "in" and "out" holes where that direction should never be violated ("gay guys put stuff in the out holes").
Some guys have a female blow up doll at a bachelor party, but it's never used for anything. Howard then shows up and, trying to act macho, asks if they have porno films such as "Little Oral Annie."
Howard confesses to a priest about a "friend" accused of being gay who also hasn't yet consummated a three year relationship with a woman. The priest then says that this man must be gay, and to disprove it, he must consummate that relationship right away. Howard then rushes to Emily, throws her down on her bed and passionately kisses her, but nothing more happens after that.
We see Drake's girlfriend, who's in bed, in her underwear.
Emily, who's getting drunk, asks Peter if he'll sleep with her after her wedding with Howard is called off.
Many students (and others) stand up and claim they're gay (just to support those who are). After one female student says she's gay, a teacher claims she can't be "because I know you're a tramp." A male student then prefaces his statement by saying "I still do it with chicks every chance I get and I'm still good at it."